Being subjected to a police search is not something anyone wants to go through. However, if you are might be searched by police or you were searched, it’s important to understand what probable cause is and how it relates to whether or not police actually can lawfully search you. Here’s what you need to know.
Search Warrants vs. Probable Cause
In most cases, a search warrant must be obtained before a police officer searches a person or their property. However, there are some cases in which the police can search without a warrant. This is where probable cause comes in.
Probable cause is the reasonable suspicion that a crime was committed or is being committed.
If the officer has reason to believe a crime has or is occurring, he also has the right to search your person or property.
Examples of Instances Where Police May Have Probable Cause to Search
- Police officers stop by your home to ask questions about an altercation with your neighbors. Yet, they see drug paraphernalia through the open door or window
- A police officer stops you and sees what he or she believes to be blood on your hands or jacket
- A police officer sees your vehicle weaving on the road
Examples of Instances Where Police May Not Have Probable Cause to Search
- You were not disobeying any rules of the road, were not swerving your vehicle, nor did you have expired tags or a broken taillight
- There was no indication that a crime had taken place or was currently taking place
- The place that was searched was not the scene of criminal activity of any kind
When to Contact an Attorney
If you are searched by the police and arrested, contact an experienced criminal defense attorney who can assist you.T. Martin Knopes, P.A. has the experience and resources necessary to thoroughly investigate your case to determine if police officers were within their rights to search you and/or property.
If investigation indicates that police were not within their rights to search you, any evidence obtained could be omitted from court. In fact, this makes your defense stronger and the prosecution’s case weaker. Call today for a consultation to discuss your case in detail with a criminal defense attorney at (850) 683-0700.